How to de-emphasize characters #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Some excellent advice here from crime writer Raimey Gallant

Raimey Gallant

How to de-emphasize characters

THE FOLLOWING CONVERSATION, WHICH IS BASED ON A REAL EMAIL EXCHANGE WITH MY AGENT, HAS BEEN SET IN A 1920’S HARD-BOILED DETECTIVE NOVEL FOR DRAMATIC PURPOSES.

How to de-emphasize your characters

So I pick up the telephone and wouldn’tcha know—it’s my agent. “Too many characters in your manuscript,” she says to me.

So I says to my agent, I says, “Well, golly. What do I do?”

“Kill two of ’em. Kill two of ’em dead.”

Course, I know my agent isn’t suggesting I put a hit out on my characters, but—ha!—wouldn’t it be a laugh if she was. “Suppose we edit out this one dame,” I says to her (I didn’t much like that character anyway), “but instead of killing this other fella, suppose we de-emphasize him. I can cut back his description, and hey, I can un-name him, too. That way, the amount of words devoted to him is more proportional-like, as far as…

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Lest we forget

  The Wall of Remembrance at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia, holds the names of over 100,000 Australian servicemen and women who lost their lives fighting in a war. Some were volunteers, some were conscripts - but all of them deserve to be remembered with honour and respect. I won't go into details... Continue Reading →

How long should a chapter be?

I've blogged about this before but I'm in a quandary again so I think it's worth a revisit. I'm massively editing Chapter One (currently called Wigginton, Tamworth, England - 1883). There are three distinct scenes in it. To keep them together, will have a chapter of between 6500 and 7000 words. But to separate them... Continue Reading →

Bring on 2019

Yep. We've all done it. Made New Year's resolutions, only to break them. This year, however, I'm determined not to do that. Here's the thing: I really want to get more regular with my blog (one of last year's resolutions that I broke) AND I want to get my novel to a point where it... Continue Reading →

History and fiction

An interesting read: what do you think?

Kelly Gardiner

Here’s the text of a speech I gave at a History Council of Victoria seminar on History and Fiction, 28 August 2018.

Other speakers were Linda Weste and Ali Alizadeh, and the panel was chaired by Kathleen Neal.

Here’s (roughly) what I said.

What is historical fiction? You may have an idea in your head – a shelf of maritime novels by Patrick O’Brien, or blockbusters glimpsed in airport bookshops – all armour and abs and authors names in gold lettering. In truth, it’s a broad church. The definition of the Historical Novel Society is simply that it is fiction set more than 50 years ago, or beyond the personal experience of the author. It includes incredibly popular genres such as historical crime and romance, sub-genres such as military or adventure tales, cosy mysteries and thrillers, literary or experimental fiction set in the past, entire industries of Regency and…

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Third Person POV – what a minefield

According to Your Dictionary, "[w]riting in third person is writing from the third-person point of view, or outsider looking in, and uses pronouns like he, she, it, or they. It differs from the first person, which uses pronouns such as I and me, and from the second person, which uses pronouns such as you and... Continue Reading →

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